Interactions between nanostructured surfaces and proteins

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Supervisor:
Dr. Ender Ferenc
Department of Electron Devices

With my thesis I joined the developement of silicon-based microelectrodes at the Physics Technilogy and Material Science Institute of the Energy Research Centre at the Hungarian Scientific Academy. The results presented in this paper connected to such an initiative, which aimed to improve the biocompatibility of microelectrodes.

During the developement of the implants, there must be a high attention payed to the attributes of the surfaces, because this is the key positions where the human body is connected to it, and the environment being formed here is the most importat factor influencing the overall performance and usability of the instrument. During implantation the neural cells get damaged which activates some parts of the immune system of body therefore an insulation layer is being formed around the implant resulting a significant loss of performance.

Nowadays, researching the ways of modifying the surface of the implant is outstandingly important, because through this the biocompatibility of such devices can be imporoved. Our goal is to design such a nanotopography of a surface which can effectively influence the behavior of the nerve cells and delay the formulation of the glial scar. Because the communication between cells is based on the emission and receptin of protein-like molecules from the inter-cellular space, it was straightforward to focus on the interaction of the nanotopographic surfaces and the proteins.

In a device developement manner it was an important paramater, that the nanostructural methods shall be able to be involved in the microtechnological machining processes.

In my thesis I was inspecting the sticking attributes of modeling proteins in criogenic plasma-etched silicon and platinum via measuring contact angles of water drops and also by fluorescent microscopy. I was also doing experiments at the MTA KOKI Molecular and Develepement Neurobiology Institue, comparing the behavior of model proteins and the sticking and differenciation of stem cells.

As the inspection of the surfaces has been made on multiple manners (biological and technologycal) hopefully it can give a bigger picture to us about materials intended to use for sensor developement, which can be very helpful for further developement.

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